Exam board denies easy grades at GCSE
Tuesday 13 August 1996
Officials at the Southern Examining Group refused to give the percentage needed for a grade C, the equivalent of a pass in the old O-level exam, but said it was "nowhere near" the figure being quoted.
Mathematics papers are divided into three levels of difficulty, and the paper in question was the most difficult. It is understood that the true figure corresponds closely to last year's grade C passmark for the hardest level in several subjects: 38 per cent in double science and 42 per cent in biology.
The board says that the mark for grade C in the most demanding maths exam was lowered this year, because candidates had found the paper so difficult. The School Curriculum and Assessment Authority insisted that the original exam was changed because it was not hard enough. The authority has asked for a report from one of its officials who was an assessor at the meeting at which the decision to lower the grade C mark was taken. Ministers have yet to decide whether to request an inquiry into the marking of the paper.
The dispute is bound to fuel the controversy about exam standards which will intensify on Thursday with the publication of this year's A-level results. The pass rate is expected to rise again. GCSE results are out next week.
The examining group pointed out that changing the mark required to achieve different grades was common practice. The aim was to ensure that candidates were not penalised if a paper had been more difficult than in previous years. Marks for a grade might change but standards did not. In addition, the mark required to achieve each grade varied from subject to subject. In English, last year, a grade C in the most difficult paper required 65 per cent.
George Turnbull, a spokesman for the group, said: "There is no magic raw mark which says that you have a grade C or B. If the exam is easier this year than last year, more people would get 50 per cent."
A spokesman for the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority said: "We shall be scrutinising this year's results ... and checking that the Southern Examining Group's results are comparable in standard to those of other boards."
The official UCAS listings of places available this year through clearing will appear exclusively in 'The Independent' starting on Monday, 19 August.
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Ryan Gosling granted temporary restraining order against a woman 'convinced she was his twin flame'
Jennifer Lawrence sings in new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1 clip on YouTube
Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...